When I was in college, I used to write all my non sequitur thoughts onto little sticky notes and put them in a red wagon on my desk. Initially I would use them for writing inspiration or for happy thoughts. They worked. I wrote a successful play and stand up bits from those crumpled notes. Over time, the wagon grew full and I proceeded to stuff my stickies into a big plastic bag that I deemed “my bag of important documents.” Included with the notes were other important vices: passport, social security card, stickers, pin numbers. Yes, all were equal in my “bag of important documents” however my consistency in making new sticky notes came to a halt as of my senior year.
Here I am today, a college grad living in Chicago. Working two jobs, taking more comedy classes and bombarded with the “have to” writing of my comedy troupe and life.
I recently lost my keys at the Chicago Sketchfest, an event which I was lucky enough to participate in, and desperately needed to find my bike lock code to order a new key. Out came my bag of important documents. I sifted through each sticky until I eventually found my key number. As I placed each note back, I found myself reading my older quips from what now seems like so long ago.
“Writer’s block is just an excuse to whine and drink alcohol.”
“Birth control is a daily reminder that I am not getting any.”
“God must hate me for not believing in Him.”
And I found myself envious of the past me who jotted those notes. Sure, I was anxious, stressed, bored of college, and most like suffering an eating disorder, but that was a time that I really fancied myself a writer.
A real writer.
My stickies held quotes as well. Non-originals. I am such a thief.
“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.”– Catcher in the Rye
“Wouldn’t you prefer a maiden fair? Isn’t there a kitten stuck up a tree somewhere?” – Ani Di Franco
Ah! It was a time when others’ words inspired me and I hoped to be as good as them someday.
I miss that. I want it back.
It is always easy to journal a “woe is me” rant before anything else so forgive me. Life for me ain’t that bad. And some day I know I will look back at the obstacles placed before me and laugh. I’m a comedian, that’s what I do.
But, God, to be in the mindset that I was back then. Those notes represented a time when I wrote because it was in me, not because I had to. They represented when I felt funny and I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. I was relaxed. I was blah. I was determined to keep them up. I read them today and you know what? I was funny. I was fucking hilarious.
Where did I go?
It’s a sick irony because in Chicago I am doing nothing but breathing comedy. I meet with my troupe three times a week (not to mention living with two troupe members, one who is an ironically intimidating boy to be around) and I have three days a week at The Second City Comedy Mecca of Intelligent Hilarity.
I sit in a room with comedians, and after my comments the place goes silent. Woe is me. Woe as me. I jump into comedy class and I jump out with still so much to learn. I can hardly watch funny stuff anymore due to extreme jealousy of “why didn’t I think of that” or extreme boredom of “yeah yeah, I know the science of that bit.” On days off, I lock myself in my room in hopes that I will never have to leave. Avoid the fear, that’s a solid method. Poor poor Alison. What has become of me?
So, that day of days where my bag of documents was released onto my bedroom floor, I turned to the sticky notes of my past. Perhaps they could guide me. I uncrumpled and read the more serious of the stickies.
“There is nothing more difficult than being a woman with pride.”
“And sometimes, Ali, people just are.”
I see I see.
“Being alone is not the same as wanting time alone.”
“I don’t care about things I don’t care about.”
“Remember the joy. Remember the joy. Remember the joy. You’re stupid if you don’t, and I’ll say it again, REMEMBER THE JOY.”
Oh, there I am!
“You’re not funny unless you have fun. Go find a kite. Dance naked. Maybe steal a baby. Whatev. ”
The quips I had years ago resonate with me today. Mind boggling. Crazy. Sigh. Relief. I’m not in a unique stupor after all, just at a low that I have apparently dealt with before. And if my stickies are any indication of this woe, (“My Chippendale’s Calendar was printed on Recycled Paper. Way to go green, you shirtless wonders!”) this too shall pass.
I think it’s time to add to my collection. It’s high time I enjoyed comedy again.
For now, I am going to end each of my blogs with a sticky from my past. Intentionally funny or not, they’re me.
– One L
“Who cares about flavors of Gatorade? Cranraspblueberrymelonpunch?”